From the warmth of sunny southern CA to wherever you may be this year, I wish you a very merry Christmas!!
Not missing the snow,
Archive for December, 2011
From the warmth of sunny southern CA to wherever you may be this year, I wish you a very merry Christmas!!
I went to the doctor today and got my blood work done - it was a $25 copay. Not too bad I guess.
I also got my mom's Christmas gift mailed off (late I know!!) - only $5 postage - should get there by Tuesday. Oops.
Yesterday afternoon one of my coworkers came by and asked if I wanted to go into town with her and another teacher for dinner. I couldn't resist. Dinner - $8.65, and then we went to Walmart. I needed to pickup a bat of cat food because I was nearly out, but ended up buying a couple of CDs from the $5 bin. One of them will make a good addition to my dad's Christmas gift ... but I really should've skipped the others -- $23.36 (I also got a Terry's Chocolate Orange).
Guess what started again while I was at the doctors? Snow!! We've had probably another inch fall this morning. I plan on taking it slow on the way in to ABQ because around here the roads were getting kind of slick.
I stopped over at the school library and picked up a few books to read. Although I have plenty of books on my phone, there are times where you can't use electronic devices on the planes, so I like to have a hard copy book -- the last few times I ended up buying a book in the airport -- highway robbery. So this time I am prepared!! Plus I'll be able to book talk these books when I get back.
After I got back from dinner last night, I preceded to spend the $200 donation. I bought about $70 worth of graphic novels, $60 worth of mid-school specific books, and the rest were more primary level books. I actually ended up spending an extra $15. In all, I got 47 books - from Ebay and Amazon. Only 6 of them were full price (the newer, more popular ones.)
I used my Beezag money that was in Paypal for the books from Ebay.
They should mostly be here by Jan 7. The kids are going to be so excited.
I'm 15 points away from redeeming my next AGC from Swagbucks. Yay!
I could redeem points for a $25 AGC from Mypoints right now, but I'm only 3,000 away from a $50 AGC. I'll wait - it'll save 400 points that way.
Ok, I better go pack. It's gonna be hard getting up though cuz Kari is sound asleep on my lap.
This morning I received my 7th payment from Beezag. That makes $56 now for 2011. I was looking at my payment history from them and realized I'd really slacked off July - November. That doesn't surprise me, because I know how busy/exhausted,e tc. I was then.
I updated both my Frugal Living blog and my Children's Books blog. It had been quite a while for both of them. One goal I'm adding for 2012 is to update at least the book blog 2x a month. It really should be easy to do considering how many books I read to my students each week.
A few weeks ago I went to the local clinic here for a sinus infection, and I was hoping to get a new prescription for my thyroid medicine. However, I found out that I had to have my medical records before they'd do anything more than treat my sinus infection.
So today I called to find out whether they'd gotten them or not. They hadn't gotten all of them yet, but apparently enough to feel comfortable making an appointment for me to get blood work done. Unfortunately the time they wanted me to come in (so I could get on with the new doctor) was Friday, January 6. I told the person that Fridays were the worst possible day for me as a librarian - we have so many Fridays off that the kids already get shortchanged. She was just like ... well the teachers will understand if you give them enough notice.
In my head I'm thinking, yeah right lady.
So about 30 minutes later she calls me back. I now have an appointment for tomorrow morning with the current doctor! Starting in March I'll have to use the new doc and go on Fridays, but hopefully I can schedule those appointments for when we're off anyway.
Just as I was in the middle of writing this post, I got a knock at my door. Fed Ex!!! It was a donation check from the same man my mom dated who pd for my Thanksgiving tickets and gave me $100 towards books. A donation of $200!!! His daughter asked that instead of him giving her her usual Christmas gift, that he donate it to my school's library. Isn't that just the most unselfish and sweetest thing you've heard??
Above and beyond the gift itself, I am most surprised that FedEx will deliver straight to my door. I know UPS won't, because I have to get all my packages at the post office. But this morning I got a call from a woman at FedEx asking me where a particular address was located. I told her that I think the address she was looking for was xxxxx instead, but that there'd be no one there. So she asked me for my home address -- I was very surprised and didn't believe it till the guy knocked on my door!
This is good to know - very good to know.
What do you think would be a good way for me (or the students) to show appreciation for the gift?
MM - he wrote the check to me, but included a letter to the school stating what it was for. Will he be able to write that off on his taxes? Or should I have him rewrite the check to the school/mission???
I'm not sure that he is doing it for a write off, but included the letter to give me a little extra "props" with the mission (that I have people donating money to the school, hence keep me around.)
Now I'm going to have to figure out the best way to use this money. Believe me, I could spend it 4 or 5 x over quite easily. Maybe allocate $100 towards mid-school level books and $100 towards primary level books??
This morning when I looked out my window, I saw that we'd gotten another two-three inches of snow overnight. But ... it has stopped snowing (for now at least - predicted to get more tomorrow/Thursday!)
I was still able to remove the snow off my car with my scraper, and pull out with no problems. There was a light wind blowing snow across the road which made visibility a bit limited, but otherwise the roads were fine.
I ended up driving a little bit past the mechanics due to the visibility, and so turned in to the drive next to his. In order to get to the mechanic, I had to drive through this open passageway.
I got stuck.
Thankfully I knew enough to stop revving my engine once I realized I was stuck. But apart from that, I wasn't sure what to do. Just as I was about to get out of my car to go get help, an older white woman came over. (I found out later that she is a speech pathologist at a school about 50 miles from here.) She told me to straighten my wheels out and gun it. So, I did that - and after a little help from her pushing down on my front end, I was able to get out.
Once I got out I headed back to the mechanic. 20 minutes or so later the verdict was back --- only cosmetic damage!! I was practically jumping up and down in relief. The guy who looked at my car didn't charge me anything for his time either (which he really could have done quite fairly.)
So .... if the freeway isn't closed on Thursday due to more snow ... I'll be able to drive to ABQ with no worries of my car breaking down.
I also don't have to raid my miniscule emergency fund to make car repairs!
While I was out, I did pick up a $10 shovel at the local mini-grocer. That way I don't have to depend on others to shovel me out if I need it. (I probably ought to get a better quality one sometime - but this one will do in a pinch.)
I was really bored last night, so did a preliminary look at my 2011 taxes. I didn't have all the confirmed numbers, so some were just guestimates. Even so ... it looks like I'll be getting back at least $7 or 800 (maybe more.) Whatever I do get back, 10% will go for fun/wants and the rest will go to my EF.
I also was playing with YNAB and doing some forecasting. If I'm really careful (and especially now that I don't have to take out money for car repairs!) by next December I *should* be able to meet all my financial goals -- and that is without counting any money from possibly working summer school!
Wow! What an interesting day. It started for me around 4 a.m. I woke up and just *could not* go back to sleep. So finally around 4:30 I got up and looked outside -- and took a picture. At that time I was still able to open my door all the way.
About 5:15 I got the call letting me know school was canceled. I went back to bed and managed to sleep off and on til about 7 when I just couldn't stay any longer.
Then I got up and started haunting the Swagbucks facebook page for the code extravaganza. That is pretty much all I did today. Between the codes, search wins, videos, sbtv, etc., I earned about 150 SBs - about what it would normally take me a few weeks to earn. I also read a couple of books.
It didn't stop snowing ALL DAY long. By about 1 pm this is what my front porch looked like --- I couldn't open it any wider!
I took a handful of snow and put it under Kari's nose -- she sniffed at it a bit, then turned and walked away. She didn't want anything to do with it!
Around 4, one of my co-workers came by with a shovel and shoveled off my front porch and around my car!! I thought that was so sweet -- since I don't have a shovel!! (or boots - both things I guess I'm going to need to rectify if I'm going to stay here very long.)
Around 6 I saw one of my coworkers post that school had been canceled for tomorrow too -- so I guess today started our Christmas vacation! I feel bad for the kids missing out on their parties/gifts (and I was looking forward to revealing myself to my giftee and finding out who my Secret Santa was ... oh well.)
We also missed out on the Christmas program tonight - the kids had worked so hard on it. I was told we'll probably do it when we get back in January - but it won't be quite the same.
I haven't seen this much snow since I was a young teenager living in Minnesota! Even then, I don't remember getting this *much* snow all at once.
We had at least 5 instances of short power outages. I'm hoping and praying that that is all we'll have -- short bursts of power outage. I do have a gas stove I could *gasp* heat stuff on the old fashioned way if I absolutely *had* to. Just in case, I'm keeping my phone plugged in so it is charged 100% all the time. (not the smartest to do long term, but in the short term I don't think it will hurt it too much.)
I was going over my posted goals in my head last night and realized that they (financially) are probably unrealistic. So I'm thinking I'll do them in steps... Step 1: Travel Funds and EF; Step 2: Car fund; Step 3: Extra ROTH money and then if I manage all those ... go back to Step 1 and add to EF money.
I don't know how much my car repairs are going to cost. I was going to go to the mechanic today .. but well obviously that didn't work out. My dad is insisting that I get it looking new again - i.e. take care of the cosmetics even if it doesn't affect the function. I didn't bother wasting my breath trying to explain that on my income, cosmetics take a *really* low spot on the priority list. Esp. on an almost 15 year old car. If it was 5 years old or less ... than that might be different. I personally only care that my car can get me from A to B, and hopefully keep me warm or cool while doing it. Other than that ... phooey.
I got quite a bit done today which I'd been putting off for a long time due to tiredness and laziness. I swept my whole place, took out two loads of garbage, put things away, did all my laundry, and did most of my dishes. Kari wasn't quite sure what to make of my cleaning frenzy.
SrN called today and told me that they'd talked about me yesterday at the Christmas dinner (rear ending). She told me that since I don't have much in the way of classes tomorrow (due to dress rehearsals for Christmas program) that if I could make an appointment for my car at the mechanic, to do so.
I thought that was pretty sweet.
Preliminary 2012 goals:
* 2 x a week lift weights (10+ minutes)
* 2 x a week do 15 min+ elliptical
* Restart NoS program
* Eliminate soda
* Bought frozen foods used only on S days
* Meals on non-S days must be cooked by self - not bought frozen foods (i.e. use rice cooker, food steamer, etc.)
* Daily 20 minutes focused prayer time
* Daily Bible w/Brian Hardin podcast
* Stay for potluck after church - try to connect with someone, anyone
* No more than 3 missed Sabbaths (unless out of town)
* Plan a focused Bible study/prayer time for Friday nights -- make Friday nights special - candles, special meal ... not just vegged out on net
* Contribute tithe/offerings consistently 2x a month (after payday)
* Call and/or write to a non-family member/non-coworker 1x a week
* Play piano 60 minutes per month
* Work on cross stitch project 60 minutes per month
* Read 1 book *not* for students per week
* Read minimum 1 book for students per week
* Grocery budget
----Create a priority list. When shopping, buy from top down and keep running total. Stop when budget is reached.
-----Grocery shop no more than 2 x a month. (Exception - buying bananas at local small grocer in between big town grocery shops.)
--- Grocery budget --- $120/month -- including Kari's food/litter. So ... $50 per trip to allow for incidentals.
* ROTH - Send $1500 (Currently $100/mo)
* Emergency Fund - Save $5,000
* Car Repairs/Replace - Save to $5,000
* Vacation/Travel --- Save $1000 (Spring Break trip, plus summer travel)
* Moving Fund --- Save $1000
* Library spending -- limit to $30/month non-gift card funded spending
* Increase extra funds:
---- Check into being part of summer school program
---- Do Swagbucks daily points *daily*, at least once a week check for extra videos/offers
----- Do Beezag *daily*
----- Check Mypoints email at least once a week
Edited -- My savings goals are roughly 60% of my gross yearly income ... But considering that my only expenses are food, gas and internet/phone ... I really *should* be able to do this. It's just keeping the food/gas, miscellaneous expenses in check.
I made it to church this morning, and was even planning on staying for potluck. Unfortunately the elder who preached didn't finish til nearly 2 p.m.!! I still needed to make the cottage cheese roast for the Christmas party at 5, so decided to not stay.
Before going on -- sad story. One of the ladies at church who has been very nice to me and is a teacher told me that the Title 1 funds to her school had been frozen, and that all the Title 1 teachers had been let go as of this coming Monday. Since her housing is provided by the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs or something like that) this means that she is going to have to move - most likely back with her parents. If this would have happened at the end of the year, I could possibly have gotten her on here - since most likely our mid-school science/social studies teacher will be leaving, and that position doesn't require you to be Catholic.
So ... I made the decision to not stay for potluck. About 6 minutes into my drive, just before the entrance to the highway ... disaster struck. A yawn attacked me, and as I was coming out of the yawn attack and opened my eyes - I saw the back of a super sized pickup truck directly in front of me. I slammed on my brakes -- but it was too late. So I put my car in park and put on the hazzard lights. Got out to access the damage. The man (driver) and a woman both got out too. The man asked me if I was ok. The woman started yelling at me that I should pay more attention. The whole time I'm apologizing to both. The woman says "should we call the police?"
There was no damage to the truck, so I told the woman we could call them if she wanted to, but since the damage appeared to all be on my side ... there didn't seem to be any point. They both got back in and drove off, and I drove off.
My hood and front grill have a good sized hole in them now. Add to that my front windshield with the crack all along the bottom ... and my car looks like a royal mess.
My car drove home fine, no problems. So I am hoping and praying that the damage is all cosmetic. In other words, something that I can basically ignore.
Oh, and the Christmas dinner/party? I ended up not going to it because I was too upset by my accident. I wasn't really all that excited about going to it in the first place ... so not really a huge loss. But it would have been a good way to socialize outside of school. Oh well, my nap and watching POI here at home instead probably was better for me anyway.
Tomorrow my goal is to clean my house, do dishes, and do laundry.
Also, my goal is to get the projects graded and the 6th graders tests graded (and entered in the gradebook.)
On Monday I most likely won't have many classes, so I'll use that time to do a lot of cataloging.
I'll take my car to the mechanic on Tuesday after school is out (at 1 p.m.) to find out the damage assessment.
Thanks everyone for your birthday wishes. I had a good birthday yesterday - even with a bit of a getting lost episode.
I ate at a restaurant I'd eaten at before - mainly because I knew I could get cheesecake and a virgin daiquiri there - two things I like to have on my birthday. All in all, it was kind of disappointing. The cheesecake wasn't that great, the daiquiri wasn't iced (maybe I made a mistake and said margarita instead??) and the veggie burger ... wasn't anything to write home about. Overall a quite expensive meal for not much -- $20.38 plus tip. However, I did bring half of the meal home for tonight - so maybe it'll be better reheated.
Today was interesting. I didn't have any students until about 10:50 because my one class I usually have at 9:45 was practicing for the Christmas program. I did have them come in for about ten minutes so they could check out books.
During this time I had no students, I worked on getting the newspaper ready to distribute. Early in the morning, three of my journalisim students came and folded the 210 copies I'd made on Wednesday. As I was counting copies to the different classes, I realized we needed another 15 just for the students. So I made 25 more copies and folded them. As I was just about to head over to the main office to put them in the teachers boxes, I noticed a typo. The lead story had been changed from present tense to past tense, and I had missed an "is." So ... I debated on fixing it and reprinting 235 copies and then folding them myself ... or just taking a pen and making an "ink splot" on 235 copies ... I chose to do the ink splot. With 5 minutes to go before my 6th grade AM group arrived, AL (the computer tech) agreed to finish the last few copies and take them to the office for me. Phew!
After school today I received several compliments on the paper - especially on how it was free of spelling errors and bad grammar, as well as how it definitely sounded like "kid writing." That was my goal - to be as hands off as possible - while still making sure it was good writing. (I had the Language arts teacher proofread it for me as a double check -- I have a tendency to use way to many commas, etc.)
Now on to the fiasco ....
The 6th graders finishing their computer mid-term (on plagiarism.) Of 17 students, at least two (maybe three) tests had completely vanished. Two, possibly three tests corrupted and the students had to start from scratch. Although I assured each student that was having technical difficulties that it would not be held against them, I had one student who was *really* upset at having to start over. So much so that she ended up visiting the school counselor. I just felt sick at having upset a student so.
I do not plan on basing any more tests on the computer. What I had done was I made the test in Word, and then posted the original in each grades folder. Then the students opened the test, and saved it under their own name. For the majority of students this worked just fine .. however 6 6th graders and 1 7th grader (who's test also vanished) ... it didn't work out so well. The 8th graders finish on Monday ... I fervently hope that we won't experience the same problems!!!
I am so glad for the Sabbath and the needed rest/break. I really hope our regular pastor is speaking tomorrow, and not one of the elders.
One week from now I'll be in California!! It more than likely will be much warmer than here!! (Highs in the mid-30's versus highs in the mid to high 60's... )
I cashed out for $8 on Beezag (I think on Tuesday??) and am already up to 1000 points. There were 7! videos tonight. I also have enough Mypoints for a $25 AGC, but will wait til I have enough for a $50 because that saves 400 points. I also cashed out for a $5 AGC from Swagbucks on either Tuesday or Wednesday (can't remember now.)
We have snow predicted for Sunday night ... SrN is worried about our Christmas program Monday night. It'd have to be pretty bad to cancel ... considering how much snow we had for the Community Christmas Dinner!!
Well here I am less than 4 years away from having to say 4- something. Oh well, I'm not bothered by it.
Looking at where I was ten years ago - my fifth year of teaching down in the valley of Texas, barely making it financially and not really happy with my life. Now I'm in the deserts of New Mexico in my first year as a librarian. Still not making much money (less than I did in 2001!!) but so much more knowledgable about how to handle my finances. The best thing though is that I'm really happy with my chosen profession. The only link in the chain is not really having any sit down in real life chit chat heart to heart friends. I should be used to that by now though. Phone calls and email doesn't keep a friendship alive for too long.
Sorry for going meloncholy here. I just watched the movie New Years Eve and it got me thinking. I'm glad I didn't listen to the negative reviews.
My food just arrived, so I better go. Tell more later.
Well, I did go to church yesterday, then I came home wrote an email back to a friend, talked to my dad ... and then took a nap. I pretty much didn't get up again til this morning around 8!!
I watched POI this morning after I got up, and then I spent about five hours working on library stuff that I could do from the comfort of my home. (cleaning up late fines from previous years, putting together late fine notices for this year ...) Then I spent a couple hours dreaming (about books of course!)
I did manage to get a couple loads of laundry done, and I'm going to try to motivate myself to do some dishes here soon ...
Tomorrow after I take Kari to the vet, I'm going to eat breakfast at Burger King. Not exactly healthy I know, but not something I get the chance to do very often. (the vet is within a few blocks of a BK, and I'll be dropping Kari off at 7:30 ... so ...)
I did get my refill of Synthroid yesterday, and I hope it will start kicking back in here within a few days.
Oh get this! On my way back from church yesterday, I noticed a 2 inch+ crack on the lower left hand side of my windshield. I must have had a rock hit my windshield within the past few days, or the freezing and unfreezing of the windshield cracked it ... I just hope I can put off doing anything about it til January. I've had enough car stuff this month already.
With payday this Thursday, I'll have my December budget flush. So then the next two paychecks will go straight to January -- which means I'll *finally* be back on the YNAB method -- i.e. living a month behind (with a one-month buffer.) With that accomplished, and if I can keep control of myself in spending (keep away from Amazon til you have giftcards to spend ... keep away ...)then I can start thinking about my 2012 goals. I've been thinking some on them, and will post soon with some of my thoughts -- maybe a little closer to 2012 though.
I am close to earning my next $5 AGC from Swagbucks (will definitely have it after getting my birthday Swag on Thursday.) I am also within 400 points of cashing out again on Beezag ($8 cash.) I haven't been as consistent with either of them as I'd like -- probably will make that one of my goals. Free, easy money -- right?
You know how you should never text or call people when you're drunk? Well... I wasn't drunk yesterday ... but I was exhausted and overwhelmed and feeling a bit kicked about. *Not by anyone here at SA* ... probably most of what I *was* feeling was overreaction/way overemotional/overtired.
I ended up sleeping nearly 15 hours yesterday. I got home around 4 p.m., and slept off and on til my alarm got me up at 7 a.m. this morning. This morning I was still feeling a bit weepy even ... then the school nurse scolded me for not wearing a hat in 14 degree weather. I had to laugh at the absolute absurdity -- here I was feeling almost like there wasn't anything that would get me back to work, and I get scolded by the school nurse!! (It's her personality - I know this - and don't take it personally.)
So anyway, today went much, much better - and I feel much more like myself. Amazing what some good solid sleep will do for a person.
So in a few words .. I apologize for yesterday's post. It was in the realm of "drunk" posts.
Thank you everyone who commented.
I didn't get Kari spayed today, but will on Monday (have appointment.)
I did however get my car into the shop and have the radiator flushed, etc. I dropped my car off about 8:30 a.m. and one of the mechanics took me back to school. He was supposed to pick me up at 4. I called at 4:05 and got the answering machine. Knowing how they don't seem to check their machine I decided to walk. It was a little bit further than I was thinking, but took only about 20 minutes. Then they took *forever* creating the invoice and taking the payment ($193.xx). But at least that is done now so I don't have to hear about it again!!!
Today I had the 4th and 5th grade sections do roundtable booktalks. I first demonstrated by doing two booktalks - one on a book I knew well, and one on a book I just perused for a few minutes. (I did Holes, Kristi's Great Idea (babysitter club), It's Like This, Cat, and Charlie Bone at Midnight). Then I had each student choose one book, either from the table (new books) or a book which they had read previously. They then each gave a booktalk. It went really well with both groups, and they both asked to do it again. So I think I'm going to make the last week of each month "Book Club" Day for each section. It'll be a great way for them to share the books they're reading, or to preview new books we get.
I've been having the teacher assistants and a volunteer who's been coming the past few days match up all the donated books so all the duplicates are together. That was finished today, and so now they are checking them against the catalog. We are going to have a lot of books to give to the kids as gifts, and for me to put in the prize box. I may also have the teachers come over and take any books they'd like.
It feels much less overwhelming now than it did on Wednesday when those books came in. There are quite a few gems in the boxes, and I'm really happy for the abundance of pre-school level books. That is an age group I have a hard time finding good books to read for storytime.
I think my reaction stemmed from knowing that I still have a lot of books to go through from the summer donation of books and this just added more to my already overfull plate. I've decided that putting the teacher assistants to work culling out the duplicates amongst all the donated books (both recent and summer) will help reduce my workload greatly, and offer many more books for gifts/prizes. I am putting off weeding (finding duplicates/out of date/bad looking) the collection until I am caught up with the donated books. It isn't my first choice, but it is necessary to prioritize.
If I continue to have this volunteer who started on Wednesday for a while, I can see a lot more getting done. She is good. (She's actually one of the cafeteria workers who hasn't been getting a full 40 hours. She's needing to pay off a bill, so asked for more hours. They put her with me. Very happy!!)
I stopped by the PO on the way home tonight and had a card from my grandma, and a package/card from my dad. I knew I shouldn't open them, but there was no warning on either of them to not open yet. The card from my dad had a chorus of cats meowing Happy Birthday (my birthday is the 15th). Kari went NUTS when I opened it!! It was hilarious. I played it a couple more times and her tail fluffed out bigger and bigger. By the 4th time she got brave enough to come up to the card and investigate what was making that awful racket. Then she meowed at the card.
I was debating on whether to go to church or not tomorrow, but I think I will go as long as I'm feeling this much better/refreshed. I probably won't stay for potluck, but come home and take a nap. Then be nice and rested for a few hours of *very* needed cleaning - dishes, laundry, sweeping, etc. Then I can take a break and watch the newest episode of Person of Interest. That will be my reward for getting the much neglected house chores done.
I think I'm going to take a blogging break. Just til I feel more myself. I briefly considered deleting my blog, but considering how I can't seem to do anything right lately - probably the less irreversible decisions made the better.
An feeling overwhelmed and alone and that seems to come out where I offend or bore people.
So ... Taking a break.