Monday, October 15, 2018

Serendipity.............

................and all that other stuff:

So, some of you may remember my difficulty in figuring out how I was going to support the case worker with my presence at my women's shelter. She's alone except for volunteers and needs time to be away from the front area, and more importantly close the door and have one on one time with the clients.  It turns out, she's gotten a new job (in the organization, and a step up). She'll keep her office but it she'll be out and about at meetings and such and no longer doing direct casework as needed. Her replacement will be using the front office space I used, so will no longer need the same kind of help.  I'll be going there, but more flexibly to say the least.  Hopefully I offend no one when I say that in this case the Lord works and all that jazz!

On Saturday night, we had the kickoff for our "rotating dinner group at the church".  I have a new friend in my gals group who lives alone, fully admits that our lunches and happy hour are the only time she eats like she should, and with whom I have alot in common. Since our church is the welcoming, bring someone along type, I invited Sharon to come along. She got there before I did and was already chatting and enjoying a a glass of wine (we Episcopalians are a social group and as the old saying goes,  whenever two or three are gathered together, there is always a fifth-or in this case a Litre). She had a grand time and wants to do the group, so she will be my "plus one" each month and we will work out what to do when my turn comes around, with my vote being brunch, elsewhere.  So another happy result for the weekend. I did feel pretty guilty about going to the Saturday night dinner and missing Church, but what can I say? 60 degrees gave way to 21 degrees and ice and snow on Sunday morning (now of course, said snow is melted and it's almost back to 50 degrees). What will be, will be.

Unfortunately, the end result of trying new things  is that occasionally those new things are a great fail, and so it was on my creative side this weekend. I had this idea in my head that did not translate well in the real world-at least the first time. Said idea was that I would make a fleece "shawl" about twenty by sixty and add big pockets at each end. People, my prototype was a disaster. First, I'm not sure it was long enough, second I don't think it was side enough and third, the pockets need more enforcing. It was a good idea, but back to the drawing board and for now I'll stick to lap blankets for my meals on wheels recipients-at least until I think through it more clearly.

On the other hand I have three working knitting projects (Christmas is looming...sorry for the pun), pot roast with wine in the oven, a quilt on my lap and a new book to read. Oh, and I went ahead and got those squeaky brakes and rotors fixed to day as well.  It's been a long time since I've had to have a dealership get me home (this was a six hour procedure) and instead of a loaner, my ride to and from the dealership was.......a Lyft. Who knew?

If the political mail would cease and desist, life would be REALLY good, let me tell you.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Lazy Days and Thursdays-This Week in my (Frugal) Retirement

In case there's any doubt as to the accuracy of this title, I began this missive sitting up in bed, after taking my morning meds and having prayer time and attempting to journal. I am determined to  either start journaling every day and/or do my creative journal every day (I even have my sketchbook, colored pencils and pens in my little chair side basket) but struggle with when to fit it into my schedule. Sigh



In general, my life seems to go from one extreme to another on the activity level. This week was absolutely no exception, especially when fueled by the first few days of icky as opposed to Indian summer type fall weather.

Monday was probably the laziest day of all, since I never got out of those sweats. I didn't even cook as we had leftover minestrone and popovers (fresh, not leftover, but not made by me) for dinner and I had a lean cuisine for lunch. In order to challenge myself, I spent some time making a list of all the things that I could "create" and do at home with things on hand or with minor purchases needed, and did the same with all the things I could do locally for little or no money. With a few downtown exceptions, I do seem to have narrowed my geographic circle of activities lately-which is fine by me. I'm embracing the local extremely locally starting with a city pumpkin fest this weekend.

Tuesday I managed to get my lazy self out of the house for at least awhile. I met my lunch gals at a Japanese/Sushi restaurant where I had the lunch combo, and where we all agreed we needed to start lunching every other week at the  most, both for our budgets and our waistlines. We do hit restaurants with lots of $9.99 options, but even that adds up and we already meet weekly for happy hour (which is more flexible in the spending category as one can just sip a drink or eat). Then, joy of joys, I went and got my oil changed. Not expensive in and of itself, except that I found out I will need new tires and brake shoes on two sides. Normal expenses in a normal life except for the year I'm paying $600 bucks a month for kid tuition. Time to do some number crunching (and be thankful that since he lives with me I have a second car if needed). Worth it in the long term as I want my car to last another hundred thousand miles. The goal is to get the pads replaced before they wear down too much. 

 Rare, oh so rare is it that I miss my knitting group. Normally, unless I am ill or traveling I allow nothing to interfere. Wednesday  morning I woke up to freezing rain (farewell Indian summer) which later turned to non-sticking snow flurries. At least three of us decided on hibernation vs knitting, and I was one of them. I did knit at home and even did a one hour timed knitting period to see how far I could get on my new project-and ended up finishing the first repeat on this gift shawl. Refusing to leave the house and having taken nothing from the freezer to thaw, dinner was well...creative. I had a frozen package of broccoli cheese soup that served four (or four when you don't have a six foot bottomless pit living with you). I made herbed biscuits (from Schwan's they were fantastic) and we had two leftover chicken breasts, a single serving of casserole and one brat left to supplement for said bottomless pit if needed. We've been experimenting with various casseroles and frozen dinners in favor of occasional cooking avoidance. Shocking as it may sound, we've found some at "the mart" that we love and are fairly healthy including a chili casserole with spicy cornbread crust. Our vote was not to repeat the soup.

I got a chance to talk with a medical insurance broker who specialize in Medicare options this week, as well as my federal insurance benefit officer. It seems that I can suspend my federal retiree insurance benefits when I sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. Federal retiree types who are reading this take note, as I did not know this was an option. In other words, if the government ever decides to stop funding Advantage plans, rather than go to a supplement, I can go back to my federal benefit. This was the final straw in convincing me to move, and in January I'll be on a no cost HMO type advantage plan. My first HMO vs PPO but I can make it work after looking at specialists available. I spent a good hour talking to the broker on Thursday afternoon and was glad I did-it was time well spent, as opposed to doing all my searching online or via phone calls.

After my medical business was taken care of,  I went to my trusty hair dresser and I know have white sides and brown top which I will picture soon. It 'll probably take three haircuts to grow out, and I have a feeling I may want a streak of something on top. After that, I took my half and half hair to happy hour, where I visited with friends, had an iced tea and fries and chilled for a couple hours before heading home. My knitting group and other crafty friends are working on scarves, lap blankets and such for the local Meals on Wheels chapter. They have 400 people, 400. We will never get that many made by Christmas so the director said they would probably take what we give them and use them as birthday gifts. Upon hearing that, one of my elderly lunch gals presented me with thirty or so handmade cards for men and women and said she will make more and also wants to make Christmas and Valentine cards, bless her!!




As soon as I bounded (err...slowly climbed) out of bed this morning,  I grabbed some waffles, mainly because I'm out of milk and eggs, eliminating both eggs and oatmeal as options this morning. I plan to spend the rest of the morning in my trusty corner chair with my blanket, with the dog sitting in the chair across from me. He may not care that the fleece blanket I got for him has dog prints on it, but he loves it any way. Between that and the fuzzy pillow, he is happy in his own space. At some point today I obviously need to get a few groceries, pick up some "real" library books up the road, and do some sewing or creativity in my sewing room  

This weekend, depending on my "leaving the house" level of energy, there is a pumpkin fest,  a church dinner, and a few neighborhood things going on. I'll save my trip to the movies for during the week, when the crowds are down, and the entrance fee is five dollars!! Also on the agenda: deciding on all the food gifts for the foodies in my life. I live with and near people who actually like getting things like homemade compound butters, flavoring salts and the like. I can't make them this early, but I can plan-and they are a chapter in my upcoming book!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Monday Morning-Shopping Online and Making Changes

I'm finally taking the plunge. For those who remember this discussion, I've made the big decision. Tomorrow is my haircut day, and I won't be coloring afterward. I'll be half and half for awhile as the white grows out, but at least the change over won't be as long as if my hair were longer. With really short hair (which I intend to keep), my hair gets cut at least every four weeks, which requires color equally often, and I'm tired of it. Add to that the fact that well, I'm 67. It's not like it will make me look anything other than my age. If I hate it when it grows out, I can simply start again, but meanwhile that saves me time, energy, and ten dollars a month-and I expect to like it, honestly!

Meanwhile, when it comes to my clothing, apparently I am going through a phase, or else my fashion choices are drastically changing or both. As I went through my clothing this past week, I realized that most of what I pull out and choose first to wear are things that are longer and tunic like, as opposed to the short silky style shirts and cardigans that were my thing for years. You might think it was the opposite, since I have lost weight and am working out, but I am embracing mainly bright, longer styles in everything from sweaters to sweatshirts.

This is fairly a new thing for me. mind. Granted that I went much more casual upon retirement, leaving the dress for success, suits, and stockings behind, but there wasn't that much style change. Who knew, I guess this is the new me. 

Too bright??

At $20, this bottom sweater is my trial order from Zulily.com. One of the reasons they are so cheap is that they wait and then order from the company so there is a longer turnover time, but I am fine with that. I'll let you know later in the month how this turns out. I already have accessories to go with this as well as tanks for underneath.

Obviously, I cannot go out and buy a whole new wardrobe-even just for my upper half-nor would I want to. What I have done is spent time perusing online, from online thrift stores like Swap.com and Thred up.com, to Amazon, to the sale departments of a couple of my favorite stores to Zulily.com, which I just discovered. Let me just say that if I am happy with my first order, I may have found a new friend. 

Some folks  are not fans of online shopping, some because they cannot find what they want, some because of the lack of returns, and some because of the philosophical aspect. When it comes to the latter, I've pretty much decided that as long as the stores themselves are offering cheaper prices online than in their stores, and free shipping to said stores, I'm gonna take advantage of that.

 While it's not a top, this past weekend I purchased this purse online from Kohl's. I was looking for a purse that fit some specific needs (it had to hold the calendar/journal/diary  that literally goes everywhere with me, as well as have a section for card slots so I could leave the wallet behind, for example). I found this one below. Because I picked up at a special entrance near my car (avoiding walking through said store), I did not get to compare the in store prices, but I expect that the in store price was likely the one shown. I however, paid $21.00 after taxes due to online only discounts. And shipping was free, and I waited to pick up said item at a time convenient to me and near my errands.




I do know that some retailers are having issues, and some stores are being closed. But using this place as an example, I have four stores in four directions, just five miles from my house. Do they NEED that many stores? And unlike myself, I expect most people who end up doing store pickups wander around afterward and very possibly end up with in store purchases (part of the reason they offer free ship to store, I am sure). When it comes to local, independent stores, I will always choose them first, be it my local bookstore, fabric store, coffee shop, boutique or something else. But otherwise,  I have no qualms about shopping online be it Macy's or Amazon. I get better prices, without leaving my house and that works for me. Because I hate shopping, need to save money and face it, am lazy.  

Add caption


Yep, I'm even looking at long sweatshirts.

As for those long tops/sweaters (which I can still wear with my thin yoga pants, leggings and jeans) I have a few on my list, so that I can every so slowly get rid of my short tops, or at least put them aside for now. The only question is, can I wear those shorter cardigans over the lighter weight tunics?  I suppose not.





Friday, October 5, 2018

Frugal Friday-This Week in Retirement!

I don't always listen to music, but on occasion I do. I have multiple play lists on Amazon music, and sometimes I just let it play what it chooses. Right now? The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance-which reminded me that this is one of my favorite Westerns and I haven't seen it in awhile........

1.  My biggest frugal/financial news this week? I'm in the process of making some major changes with my health insurance. After TONS of research, I've decide that my retiree health insurance is not the best supplement to Medicare. So as we enter open season, I am trading my retiree health insurance for a zero cost Medicare Advantage plan. I know I have other Federal/State retiree types who are reading this, and I'll happily explain my thinking in depth, but for now let me say that I'm going for the Humana zero cost advantage plan. The fact that the feds allow me to put my insurance on hold and come back to that, made this decision easier. My health insurance was running around the $150 mark monthly, and I will open a special account purely for medical costs and use it. My broker did tell me that an awful lot of folks with "retiree" health insurance is taking this step away, for a variety of reasons

2.  Remember my concierge/executive issue regarding my primary provider?  I've decided to walk away, and once I transfer my insurance issues, I plan to join this practice. a primary care center that was created with people 65 in mind. Frugal because I'm not spending over two grand just for the privilege of keeping my current doctor.

3. I went to lunch with my gals at a local restaurant attached to a winery. I went to knitting at our local independent book store and went to happy hour afterward where I had pomegranate green tea and two small egg rolls. On Thursday, I went to happy hour where I watched the Rockies lose (after going to be the previous night an hour before they pulled out a win in the 13th inning). I had a slider, fries and iced tea (I do drink, I just prefer it to be after dark and at home). Four days out among the spending people cost me around $42.00 with tips.with tip. Two of these events were monthly only. Admittedly a teeny big more on average per event, because at the winery I had a real drink, the personal pizza AND dessert. Still around ten dollars per outing which is my general goal except for the book club, which is usually just tea or hot chocolate.

4. In contrast, the rest of my week was mainly home or near home, and mainly no cost. I finished one season of the Jack Irish TV series and cannot say enough good things about it (I watch it on the Acorn channel via Amazon Prime). I read two novels, often taking advantage of the Indian summer experience of my back yard. I spent piles of time in my studio, finishing a shawl, working on a fall quilt, and fulfilling my promise to myself to art journal each day. I also did some writing, and made myself some earrings (having serious trouble making the loop at the top of the earrings, but I'm working on it). All stuff I love to do, done with free stuff of inventory bought on sale or gifted in my stash. 



5. I'm thinking about my frugal Christmas these days. My sister purchased some yarn she loved, and I will make her a shawl with that and then add something small. Except for my live in sister, son-in-law and kids, my goal is a high of 25 dollars plus little goodies here and there for family. As a family gift for my brother/sister-in-law-adult kid, I chose the knitting pattern below which will use the yarn shown. Which is on sale for about half price, this week. The contrasts will be most likely red and cream and the total cost will be $30. I don't value my time as such in stuff made as gifts for family the way I would if I was still in business. On the slightly less frugal side, my gift aside from hand made stuff tends to be a "do something" outing for myself, sister and sister-in-law. This year I decided we would do high tea at the Brown Palace hotel. Worth the $40 bucks per. 





Meanwhile, tomorrow is one of the main local craft fairs, held at the city museum. My plan is to take enough cash to partake of a food truck, and add a single checkbook along with my drivers license and such in my pocket. I tend to use craft shows as ideas, being an "I can make that myself kind of person". If I see something I love, I'll ask the seller for their card and or website info and go from there. Because I love to support local artisans, but I tend to waver on purchases in this area.  Because of course, I always think I can make it myself, realistic or not.  



Other than the fair, I plan to next a bit this weekend. Said plans includ pulling out the large slow cooker, making some minestrone and savory biscuits, cook the premade pumpkin pie I got, and except for that craft fair, embrace an at home fall weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

My Retirement: Time vs Money





When my husband passed away, the first few years of my life were spent raising a high school student, moving half way around the world, and doing a variety of things that admittedly were not related to financial management. The idea of being concerned never entered my mind, because of course, I was a federal employee with preference, lots of skills and willing to go anywhere.

Somewhere a few years after his death I realized that no, I was not getting another job. My chances of being hired had become slim to none as I soon learned-whether because of age discrimination or something else, who knows.  I have to tell you, for a while there, panic set in. I had drastically overspent my life insurance which was my only savings, I was fifty seven,  and there I was. I was looking at an income, a regular monthly income mind, but a total salary of merely $33000 annually. What was I going to do?

Somewhere along they way, during my daily worries, a funny thing happened. I looked around me, at all the free time I had, and realized that I really was looking forward to the grabbing hold of and keeping the free time that spread out before me.   I might possibly be interested in working later, or doing something for money at some time. But I was more interested in having that time to myself. And having that time to myself was, put simply,  worth the financial adjustments.

That was almost ten years ago, and I am here to say that I have never regretted that general philosophy, and I do not feel worse off now than I did then. For me personally,  the ability to do what I want, when I want, has been the most important thing in my retirement life. I am one of those people who never had a hobby that I didn't like, places I didn't want to see, and the occasional social event I never wanted to partake in.  I was willing to choose time over money (in this particular context), and make the adjustments necessary. To paraphrase a cliche, time's gone once it's gone. Money can, for most of us, be a renewable resource, depending on our energies, abilites, and desires.  Or put another way...........



There were admittedly a few times during the last ten years when I worked..briefly. Be it doing online research for scholarly papers, the occasional passive earning period, or even exploring being a paid artists/crafts person. In each situation, I realized fairly quickly that I wanted my time back rather than the money from these various endeavours.

As for the adjustments mentioned above, some were larger, such as moving to two or three trips a year, as opposed to many more. Most of the time they became a seamless part of my life, little things like exercising at home instead of at a club, choosing a simpler yet still fashionable wardrobe, and other little things.

I am one person, and what works for me only works for me. My late husband was a man who truly loved his career, and would have found a way to keep his hand in, either through volunteerism and work (and would not have chosen to retire early). Some people enjoy working. Some people, like fellow blogger Laura, work intensively for a fairly short period in order to have a one of a kind experience-and that is the kind of work that I probably would consider. Some folks have very expensive tastes and work in order to be able to afford those things. 

There is no right way as such. That said, I've read two blogs lately that implied that free time was no good without lots of money-because you need money to do anything. Now obviously that depends on the person. But I have a fairly active social, cultural and yes even travel life coming up after my hiatus. And I don't work, or have a side gig and generally find plenty of stuff to do with the money I have.

Certainly if you need to go to a Broadway play weekly, only eat at five star restaurants, enjoy skydiving, boating, flying or nothing but five star golf courses, things will be different. And if those things are your thing, then go for it! If you are fully supporting dependent children, or caring for ailing parents financially and physically, the time and money circumstance may be different for you. And that's okay.

Obviously, I spend money. I'm helping to put a kid through college in an expensive state. Although I travel more rarely, it's by way of Bed and Breakfasts, nice hotels, VRBO's and good train seats when I go. I quilt, draw, make, jewelry and knit-all hobbies that require "inventory", although I tend to enjoy using scraps and being creating with odd fabrics and supplies. I like good restaurants, and enjoy going to movies and concerts and plays as well as the next retiree. I buy $150 SAS shoes twice a year and my face cream is of the expensive department store type. In other words, yes, somemone is needed to take advantage of that time, or part of that time. How much is the question.

But.

I'm willing to make concessions in the ways that I do those things, first of all. I'm more than happy to go during the senior hour on Friday morning to see the first release of the movie and earn rewards to get my goodies. I've been known to consider volunteering as an usher/program handout person at my local Center for the Performing arts to see national shows. I'm just as happy choosing my town hall arts center and local symphony and play house as going "into the city". I tend to prefer the really big wows mixed in with the local, and while my face cream is Lancome, my hair salon is Great Clips.

More to the point though, is that on any given day, I can think of ten things to do that are free or pretty close to (if you don't count the taxes that support the library and so on). Give me a morning or even a day at home and you will likely find me taking my two hour natural walk for exercise, reading whatever the library has sent me while sitting on my swing outside, knitting or sewing or whatever craft hits me, watching TV and Lord knows, on more than one occasion sitting by the window. I am not willing to give up any of that, including the window time, for more money-at least not right now, at this moment, ten years into my retirement. I volunteer which costs nothing other than my transportation. I live near a really good library that has lots of free activities, and a college that has free senior programs. I have friends that enjoy simple socialization opportunities and am generally someone who self entertains.

It's possible that at some point some active earnings or side gig may come into play. I'm looking at two separate houseboat/Mississippi cruise type trips after I am finally (God willing) an empty nester next spring, no longer subsidizing university. I feel fairly sure that the money that will no longer be going into the state college system will be enough to subsidize these trips. If not, then yes, I'm willing to work and or save for said experiences.

But for now, here, I have the perfect spot on the time vs. money continuum if you will. For me.

Two quick caveats on this one: First, while this is not exactly what the above topic is about, it needs to be said that the "when" of time also often fits into the time/money equation in a different way for me-from being able to travel cheaper off season and on weekdays to be able to use the matinee instead of prime time prices.

And finally, there is another side to this equation that probably deserves it's own blog post, and that is the day by day stuff that everyone, not just retirees face. Would I rather bake while watching TV and visiting with family in order to have something to take to the church potluck, or would I rather do other things and then run to the store at the last minute and spend five dollars?  But that, my friends, is a different question. For a different day.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Monday Morning

So we've reached that time where the nights can go down to forty, but the days range between 67 degrees and 84 degrees (generally) for the next week. Which means it's nice enough to open the doors during the day, but that I am kicking up the heat first thing in the morning and letting it run at seventy or so until close to noon.

A few Monday morning thoughts and shares:

1. On Saturday night, we went to the Fresh Fish company for my official birthday dinner. My brother was treating officially, but he's recently done some tech design type work for my sister in law's firm (a "senior/elder  law" firm) so the managing partner treated us to dinner. On top of that, this restaurant gives you the percentage of your birthday off the main entree-which these days is a fairly high number. I have yet to graduate to being one of those people who photographs her food in restaurants. We shared appetizers of calamari, mussels and fresh oysters, had a soup course of lobster bisque and then I had a very large lobster tail with the sides. My sister-in-law had baked, and when we retired to their house for gifts and cake I found out that she had made........wait for it...........lemon meringue cake.  They know me well (I love all lemon and lime and my second favorite dessert is custard by any other name, be it flan, creme brulee or creme caramel). A lovely time was had by all. 



2. On the gift front, I received many lovely gifts, including the flamingos shown in the box on my Instagram feed on the side. I have been talking about these for at least a year, and they now reside in the back yard near my swing and pergola, where I can see them at all times! Those pictures coming soon.

3. I've mentioned a couple times lately that I have not been "called" by quilting as much as I used to be. I still enjoy the process and sewing, but am enjoying spending time making table runners, purses and other smaller things. Unless someone asks for something specific, I am finishing my current finished quilt tops (which run about five) at my leisure, and moving on to other things-which include art, sewing with my new felted wool and other interests. I pulled some fabric and quilt tops that I was  not going to get done and am donating them to a charity organization. A friend mentioned that perhaps I was finding sewing, small art projects and other things like jewelry making more portable and social, and she may be right. It also may be that my attention span is getting worse and that I like faster results. Who knows.  

I saw these on etsy.com this morning and thought to myself "I can do that!". We'll see


4.  I recently read this article about obesity. I encourage everyone who is not a perfect weight to read this, or who has a family member or friend who is not perfect, even if they are not obese. This really hits home to me as I shove weight loss aside and concentrate on exercise, weight training and healthy eating rather than calories and carbs. And do read the paragraphs about how "overweight" and "unhealthy" are not exact correlations, your doctor aside.

5. It occurs to me that if the current candidate for higher court had just said something like "I was young and stupid in college, and I partied and I drank. I don't remember this incident but I apologize to Ms Ford for any pain I caused her", or the equivalent, he would probably be sitting on the bench now. His mistake, no matter what happens now.

6. It also occurs to me that the very next time I hear a person say "Boys will be boys", or "This is what boys do", I'm going to reach through the television and slap them. Of course, these are the same people who ask "Why didn't she say something before this?". Because of what's happening to her, that's why. Does anyone really think a woman would put herself and her family through the last couple of weeks if nothing had happened?

7. Recently I've read three or four articles or blogs on the time vs money equation in retirement. It's no secret that I am on the "time" side for the most part. I choose not to earn money in general and enjoy my free time. This is probably deserving of a post of it's own, but I would rather have some days stretching ahead of me to do exactly as I please than jump into a side hustle as such. Admittedly, at $33000 annually, I am above the poverty level that many seniors, especially single seniors find themselves in. And also admittedly, I am a creative coupon queen who is willing to explore a variety of avenues to do what I like (said as I prepare to volunteer for a few hours at the Denver Center of the Performing Arts in order to afford great seats for the new version of Oklahoma that's coming around. That said, I know many a person who has a side hustle or works at their old jobs for like a day a week, and it works for them.

To be fair though, the time vs money conundrum isn't just about the earnings portion, it's about spending vs spending time making, as well as doing without. And those decisions are personal. More on this one next week.

8. I've begun working on my big project a book roughly titled, "Homemade Gifts That Anyone can Make and Anyone Would Be Happy To Receive". Obviously this title needs work. My son suggests something along the lines of Homemade gifts for the non crafty. Put simply, these are highly impressive, easy to make, not expensive homemade gifts that are both useful and that most folks can make with little help. As opposed to gifts that look like they came from a school craft project and sit on a desk for lack of a better place, lol. I'll be sharing many of those here, and looking for testers in the long run.

This afternoon, the Rockies play the Dodgers for the division in basebal and the poor Broncos play the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Hopefully at least one of the two teams wins. Said as I go off to get my "to-dos" done so I can spend time writing and knitting in front of the tube this afternoon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A Single October Challenge-And September Update

October will be here in a few days. And round here, the October calendar is filling up, or s much as I let it anyway. I want to see the new version of Oklahoma! That's making the rounds. There's a pottery painting afternoon, a movie date, an October fest. Along with fall crafting, some serious baking and nestling inside with the fire.

Which, my friends, brings me in a roundabout way to my single October goal. And that is this: To document all my non-regular spending. Including groceries, and especially all those optional items like lunches festivals and the like.

Why?  Well first, because I don't normally track that spending (judge ye not). I have my individual monthly line items like utilities, phone, cable, rent, water and such and do not have line items for food, or whatever (I have a travel and a health fund for long term travel but that doesn't include day trips or over night).

Second, because I want to see if I actually do spend as little on the "entertainment/recreation/culture" portion of my life as I say I do on the blog. And third, so that you the reader can really see what I spend on everything. The proof, as they say is in the pudding. I'll include all groceries, dining out, fun stuff, charity things, and all crafting stuff that does NOT include things I'll make for gifting-I'll have a separate gift post later. Or maybe I'll change that up. 

And there you have it. My single written goal for October. Which means that November will probably be full, full, full of things to do for the holidays and my little trip.

 Meanwhile, about those September goals, dear readers:

Money goals:
  • Return to the aim of between five and ten dollars a day average casual income. Casual as in no more than an hour spent on the computer researching or whatever and only mystery shopping when I feel like it. Nope, nope, nope. I decided that my time was more important than the money by far, and that I can do this at any given time I feel the need or want, which will probably increase a bit as the evenings get darker and the TV time longer.
  • Make a quarterly budget Needs fine tuning and finalization, but yes, more or less.
  • See if the grocery budget can be tightened a wee bit as we move away from grilling and more to other kinds of cooking Yes, through no real effort of mine in truth. Slowly moving from steaks and chops and seafood on the grill to pot roast at 2.00 on sale, stew meat and you name it did it naturally. Although I need to fine tune and plan for baking.
House goals:
  • Get the carpets cleaned  We have carpet in one room on the floor level of the house, but it is the living room that goes directly out on the patio and we have dogs with health issues. So we need this room,  the steps to the basement and my sister's carpets cleaned sometime before we start moving things around for fall and winter decorating.Not yet. It's on the radar but I think we've decided to wait until the leaves are up and the dead crab apples on the front walk and in the yard and on the patio are not there to drag in.
  • Get my bedroom purged and closet organized, a bag at a time.Most of the way there, and yep, it was a bag at a time or fifteen minutes at a time,
Family Goals
  • Plan an October long weekend trip for my birthday with my sister. This year we are looking at Glenwood Springs or Santa Fe, because of all the smoke anywhere further north.Going but no real planning done. Fairly sure a train ride to Glenwood springs in Oct or early November.
  • Try and see if I can even get a half a day to do something special with my son. He's working forty plus hours a week as a restaurant shift manager, and going to school 3/4 time so this may be 
    • Get back to doing something small for my daughter, who I saw in April but will not see again until the holidays because of mutual traveling and the fact that she also goes to school full time in a master's program and works full time.Eh, he's working forty hours with no nights off except for today which he took as a mental health day and next week when he is going to see Ozzy Osbourne. This may be wishful thinking.
    Social/Community Goals
    • Cut my volunteering at the homeless shelter back from one three hour morning to a longer day every other week (I drive a half hour to get there and these allows me to provide staff support and do something with the residents but lessens my "running round" time and energy). Done. I'll volunteer a day or two at the most a month doing closer to a full day than a morning and not feel guilty about only getting there once a month.
    • Cut back my sponsorship and activities in my women of a certain age group to no more than one event a week (plus happy hour or coffee on occasion) if that.. Both because it works for me to cut back (for more nesting and creative time) and because I want to encourage other members to step up on this and suggest things that I might not, like a bike trip or a regular walking group. I deliberately made this a Facebook group so that, unlike Meetup, anyone could suggest anything and members could get together on their own. Not as good on this one as I would like to be. We have a weekly happy hour and a weekly coffee time and two lunches and one craft outing in October. I'm happy to do all, and will probably just cut down to two events in Oct. I like the happy hour and coffee as they break up my at home, crafty days.
      • Get to the pool at least three times per week and plan my cooler weather workout routine so that I can work out at home if it's dreary or cold.No, but I have a working home routine and will hit the pool when I can (I know its only in my head but going outside immediately after showering is a no no for me, which means I take sweats, change out of my suit and shower at home).
      • Complete one online course this month (Great courses usually have anywhere from seven to twenty lessons). Right now I'm looking at a seventeen session on sacred music as the most likely option.Not finished, but working on Sacred Music history when I sew.
      • Read one book that is out of my mystery/whodunit/police procedural comfort level (open to suggestions as long as it's not  romancy or anything Regency).Not read, but I have the Great American Read list at hand.
      • Try and blog thrice a week (I'm channeling a stage musical song here). My goal is to move the blog even more to lifestyle stuff  with some frugal creativity and other things thrown in. We'll see how that goes.Doing better on this I think?
      • Choose a big project. I have a lot of small, creative and other projects in my life, but I have decided I need a larger, long term project. At this point I know it will probably have to do with writing and/or genealogy, but we'll see. Chosen but not started
      • Add five minutes of meditation/contemplative prayer to my morning and evening routines.Started but not regularly
      • Get my mammogram done (oh, Joy!!) Today is my birthday and I had both my mammogram (3D) and a Thyroid sonogram. Tonight we are chilling and having frozen Scallops and bacon from Trader Joe's and Pie to make up for my pain.
      Creative/DIY goals
      • Finish one knitted shawl (for a gift), one scarf for the meals on wheels folks, and choose the next project. I knit really fast these days and this is my TV time, so it's an easy no brainier. One shawl finished (but not off the needles cause I don't know what the heck a Russian Cast Off is and need to meet with my group next week, the next one on another set of needles.
      • Finish one larger projects (probably a fall quilt) and one smaller project (still to be chosen! Working but not finished, and I'll finish it when it's finished.
      There you have it. There is nothing not done that bothers me at night except for wishing for more one on one with the son. I'm not going to "move" these to a new goals list as they are all slowly progressing or stuff I obviously really wasn't into.

      Meanwhile, happy almost October!


Serendipity.............

................ and all that other stuff: So, some of you may remember my difficulty in figuring out how I was going to support the case ...